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Alumni Council

We know that OUBS alumni are vital to our continued success, and we endeavour to involve them in a variety of ways in our work – including through the Alumni Council, a representative body which aims to:

  • create a global community that is inclusive, innovative and responsive and delivers value to its members
  • support the growth of OUBS by enhancing alumni networks

The Alumni Council meets with senior management and advises the external engagement team on alumni relations strategy.

Meet our new Alumni Council members

Image of Dr Sadia Ahmed

Dr Sadia Ahmed

Sadia is an experienced researcher with a demonstrated history of working at the forefront of innovation and client insights. She is currently the Head of Innovation at AB Sustain and is responsible for establishing technological and analytical innovation within the business. Sadia has an extensive background in academia and is keen to bring this experience to advance the Council.

Image of Alisa Darroch

Ailsa Darroch

Ailsa is the Director of Darroch Search Ltd an independent executive search consultancy which provides bespoke, strategic recruitment solutions for financial institutions in the Fixed Income sector. Her extensive experience in consultancy enabled her to establish a network of trusted professionals, she intends to use her network to increase the OUBS social media activity whilst representing the School and its unique benefits to the broader public.

Image of Dr Rajeev Gupta

Dr Rajeev Gupta

Rajeev is a well-respected Consultant Paediatrician with 26 years medical experience and 15 years of experience as a Senior Clinical Lecturer at The University of Sheffield. He is also Chair of the International Business Federation. Rajeev has a unique combination of professional qualifications and experience which will be of immense value to the council.

Image of Gillian Hannon

Gillian Hannon

Gillian is a highly experienced multi-lingual professional with a background in licensing, procurement and compliance. She works in the disruptive innovation sector which is leading the fourth digital revolution and is the Senior Licensing Manager at ARM Holdings Ltd. Gillian is interested in supporting the link between industry experts and academic experts in the OUBS to promote brand awareness.


Laurent Ischi

Laurent is a project manager for a global bank headquartered in Switzerland and has been part of the development of a leading Fixed Income automated trading engine. Having studied both the Bachelor and the MSc in Finance with The Open University, Laurent has a unique understanding of some of the underlying issues students face and is eager to implement his project management experience to support the Council.

Image of Zoe Lawson

Dr Zoe Lawson

Zoe is a Technology Innovation Manager with CERN, Switzerland with exceptional experience in business management and life sciences. Zoe is a British ex-patriate and who has lived and worked in multiple countries across Europe and Asia. Accordingly, cross-cultural communication and international collaboration are particular personal strengths. Being centrally-based in Europe, Zoe is keen to develop the global reputation of the School by using her expertise and networks to connect with alumni globally.

Image of Nick Wilkinson

Nick Wilkinson

Nick Wilkinson is a senior business executive with extensive general management experience coupled with expertise in the global software and information technology services industry. Nick remains very interested in the 'academic' aspects of the business world, particularly in the area of strategy and the impact of digitization on productivity and the future of work. Accordingly, he intends to implement his digital background to support the digital platform of the Alumni Council and the Business School.

Watch our video to hear members of the Alumni Council talk about their experiences of being on the Council and why they enjoy it.

Photo of Susan Heightman

Susan Heightman

Qualification: MBA

Susan is an English teacher and published education researcher in eLearning, mentoring and staff development. For 10 years she has worked with the Teacher Development Agency and five London universities to create the Graduate Training programme and deliver the training sessions for secondary school trainee teachers and mentors. Her MBA studies awarded in 1993, focused on strategic management and staff development. She has worked on projects with large pharmaceutical companies, the food industry, charities and government agencies. In 2002, Susan completed her PhD in mentoring and the application of learning theory to effective continuing professional development.

Photo of Gerard McGurk

Gerard McGurk

Area of expertise: International and cross-cultural communication and coaching, distance/remote management, strategy and crisis leadership

Qualification: MBA

Gerard works at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as Consular Regional Director for Southern Europe, delivering consular services and real-time crisis preparedness and responses throughout Southern Europe. He previously led the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia consular region until July 2016. Now based in Madrid, Gerard leads consular operations in 37 diplomatic posts located in seventeen countries from Portugal to Turkey. His regional specialization has been in the Balkans and he holds extensive experience in international multilateral negotiations within the UN Security Council, inter-governmental relations and political-military knowledge. He is an internal Foreign Office and Civil Service Coach (accredited by Ashridge Business School) with broad experience in cross-cultural coaching for improvement.

Photo of Martin Wardhaugh

Martin Wardhaugh

Area of expertise: Business strategy and leadership

Qualification: MBA

Martin is Group Chief Executive of Arran Isle Limited, a £250m turnover, international building products group, headquartered in the UK. Arran Isle employs 1,000 employees, has significant operations in North America (14 locations), 10 business units in Europe, and sourcing, manufacturing and sales operations in China. Following a number of years in finance, Martin has spent more than 20 years in general management positions, developing strategic plans and converting them into action. He has experience in commercial enterprise leadership and change management across a range of sectors, countries and organisation sizes.

Photo of Rob White

Rob White

Area of expertise: Strategy, knowledge and operational management

Qualification: MBA

Rob graduated in Physics and after a short spell working for the Ministry of Defence transferred to the Finance Sector working in IT, where he has remained ever since. Today he works for a leading Wall Street Bank where he is the head of Database Product Engineering in Europe. Rob also does work for several non-profits, including MPNE and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Periodically, we appoint new members – if you think you might like to join, please email us to register your interest. When we run our next recruitment drive we will contact you with details of how to apply.

Find out more about the role of the council and membership.

Upcoming Events

Jul 25

Student Hub Live Writing Retreat: Session 5 - Editing (part one)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 - 20:00 to 21:00

Online with Student Hub Live

Aug 1

Student Hub Live Writing Retreat: Session 6 - Editing (part two)

Wednesday, August 1, 2018 - 20:00 to 21:00

Online with Student Hub Live

Aug 14

OUBS London Alumni Networking Informal Drop In

Tuesday, August 14, 2018 - 18:30 to 20:30

Champagne Charlie's, The Arches, 17 Villiers St, Charing Cross, London WC2N 6NG

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